Preparing for A Volunteer Fair: Helpful Tips

Are you managing a nonprofit organization or working on a community project that requires the support of volunteers?

Participating in a volunteer fair can be an excellent way to recruit dedicated individuals who are passionate about joining your cause or connecting with your community. In this blog post, we will discuss some key strategies for successfully recruiting volunteers at a fair.

Fairs provide an opportunity to easily connect with dozens, even hundreds, of prospective volunteers. They also give you the opportunity to raise awareness about your organization’s work and connect with other like-minded organizations who might want to partner with you.

Plan Ahead

Getting ready for a fair takes time and effort. Consider these questions as a starting point.

  • Does the fair’s location and audience match your needs? Is the fair easily accessible and close to public transit? Is there plenty of parking? This is especially important if you recruit volunteers that may have to rely on public transit to get to and from their volunteer placements. Additionally, you probably have a lot to unpack and set up, the last thing you want to worry about is parking.
  • Are you and your team prepared and willing to attend the entirety of the fair? Having well-informed and committed staff and volunteers to assist you and confidently speak about your organization’s mission and volunteer opportunities will go a long way. Additionally, volunteer support will create a positive experience and help in establishing connections that foster the growth of your support volunteers.
  • Do you have a sufficient budget for promotional materials and giveaways? To make the most of these events, it is important to attract the attention of attendees with visible signs and interesting materials, to provide a clear understanding of who you are and what they should expect from your organization. Furthermore, if your budget allows for it, offer giveaways at the event to increase interest.
  • Do you have a marketing plan? Maximize the success of your attendance at the volunteer fair. Supplement the hosting organizations’ promotional efforts with your own. Do promote to your audience that you have a table at the event. Promote your attendance at the fair through your various social channels, website and email lists.  

Volunteer fairs are an excellent opportunity to engage individuals and foster connections to make a lasting impact.

Set Clear Goals and Objectives

Determine the number of volunteers you need to recruit, the specific skills required, and the time commitment expected. This will allow you to effectively communicate your needs to potential volunteers and help you identify the kind of individuals you are looking for. Be open to different skill levels and interests, but also strengthen your efforts through segmentation. Create sign up lists that identify strong candidates from potential candidates.

Showcase Success Stories

One effective method of recruiting volunteers is by sharing success stories of previous volunteers who have made a real impact. Collect testimonials, photos, and videos from volunteers who have participated in similar projects before and create a visual display showcasing these success stories. This will help potential volunteers see the tangible difference they can make and inspire them to get involved.

Offer Volunteer Opportunities for Various Interests and Schedules

To attract a diverse range of volunteers, offer opportunities that cater to different interests and availability. Some individuals might prefer short-term projects, while others may be looking for ongoing commitments. Having a variety of opportunities available will ensure that there is something to suit everyone’s preferences and availability.

Follow Up

After the volunteer fair, be sure to follow up with individuals who expressed interest or provided their contact information. Send a personalized email or make a phone call, thanking them for their time and reiterating the next steps. Providing a clear and concise process for signing up as a volunteer will help keep potential volunteers engaged and excited.

A Suggested List and To-Do For the Fair

  • A branded tablecloth.
  • Table-top or full-size pop-up branded banner.
  • Flyers, pamphlets, post cards, posters, and business cards or QR code that provides contact information.
  • Descriptions of volunteer positions; printed or digital.
  • A sign-up form for your newsletter.
  • A volunteer application form; printed or digital.
  • Table signs, such as “sign-up here” or “win a prize” .
  • Offer games or supplies for a message wall where attendees can leave their thoughts on volunteering.
  • Informative activities to educate potential volunteers or consider setting up demonstrations or workshops to showcase the skills volunteers can learn and use.
  • Branded clothing and badges.
  • Branded volunteer swag, such as pins, stickers, pens, buttons, magnets, bookmarks, or mints.
  • Candy or snack bowl; nut-free of course.
  • Water and snacks for your team.
  • Laptops, tablets, charging cables and extension cords.
  • Portable Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • A tent or canopy, weights and decor.
  • Portable folding chairs and a table.
  • Bookmark your digital device of photo albums, videos, and testimonials.
  • A volunteer toolkit or takeaway that attendees can use to get started on their journey as a volunteer. Let them know what to expect and how to make the most from their experience.

Now, Let’s Think About How Best To Engage With Fair Attendees.

  • The majority of attendees usually show up at the start of the fair. Be early to set up, you don’t miss out on the opportunity to interact with them.
  • Be ready to impress with your 30 second elevator pitch. And don’t forget to smile!
  • If you can, avoid sitting until traffic is slow; instead, stand in front of your booth to pull people in.
  • Steer clear of excessive phone use in front of attendees unless you are taking pictures for social media.
  • If a feedback form is provided, be sure to fill it out! This will enable event planners to enhance the fair-going experience over time.

There it is! We hope these tips will help you prepare for your next volunteer fair. If you would like to exhibit at Community Volunteer Connections upcoming fairs, please click HERE to learn more and register.  

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